The Donate Design blog is about the growing community of fair trade and ethical fashion businesses around the world. Donate Design is a program created by Bel Esprit to bring together established industry professionals, students and volunteers from all sectors to donate their expertise and creativity to develop and build businesses that will provide employment, market wage and fair labor conditions to struggling communities. The focus of Donate Design is not to bring outside industry into a community as an employer, but rather, to build from within, using the local labor and indigenous resources. The purpose is to build enterprises that are self-sustaining, contribute to the future survival of the community and regional environment, and allow citizen communities to participate in their national, and the global economy. Whether providing products and services to their local community, or providing production or materials to international companies, these businesses will give opportunity and a secure future to families and communities around the world.
In the United States alone, fashion is a $265 billion a year industry and one of the most polluting. Ethical designers recognize the impact of industry processes on the environment and on the livelihood of suppliers and workers who contribute to the final product. They create collections that minimize environmental impact, and guarantee fair wage and working conditions.
The mission of Bel Esprit is to encourage and develop ethical practices in the fashion industry. Fair trade and fair wage practices have not only raised the living standards of farmers and workers producing goods, but have helped entire communities as well through reinvestment of profits to improve living conditions and education. Fair trade cooperatives and businesses give disadvantaged and marginalized people, particularly women, economic security and survival. As more highly skilled fair wage and trade options become available, designers throughout the world will be able to source production and materials that respect the world and its inhabitants.